ENVB40040 Environmental Impact Assessment

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module outlines the development and philosophy of the Environmental Impact Assessment framework in Europe and USA/Canada with specific legal and procedural mechanisms for Ireland in particular. We then focus on the practicalities of preparing an Environmental Impact Assessment Report, including scoping and the collection, synthesis and dissemination of relevant information. Emphasis is placed on biological sampling with ecological assessment and monitoring. We compare EIA with other environmental procedures such as Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA), SEA and AA and discuss the pros and cons of different environmental assessment approaches including environmental management systems in the private sector. The course includes a mock EIA scoping exercise and guest lectures from practising environmental consultants and environmental lawyers.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- Describe the philosophy, legal and rational background as well as the development and procedures of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA) processes in Europe in particular and place it in a broader framework of approaches to environmental management;
- Summarise the general legal framework for EIA in Ireland, including the different categories of impact that must be addressed;
- Discuss some of the difficulties of assessing 'significance' of impacts;
- Work as part of a team to prepare a scoping report (part of EIA), based on practical experience of doing so;
- Take a critical view of the design and interpretation of biological surveys for EIA;
- Critically appraise the relative merits and flaws of EIA/SEA systems in different countries;
- Consider the different careers available in the field of Environmental Assessment and their spheres of influence.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Using delivered up-to-date knowledge in lectures using real world examples and real world problems which are given to students to use as self assessment markers with feedback provided through discussion. Practical knowledge is delivered through active/task-based learning as part of a mock exercise on fictive but potential real cases. Peer and group work is used as well as reflective learning through peer feedback.

Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Essay: Critical formatted essay Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Group Project: Mock scoping exercise comprising a group presentation and report Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback provided through open discussion and after first task of group project (Work Plan). Feedback also provided post-assessment for the group project and presentation. Peer assessment whereby you will be each anonymously awarded a grade of A, B, C, D, E or F by each of your team-mates for your relative contribution to the team effort.